Flooding | St. Louis Public Radio

Flooding

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/By Carlos J. Lazo)

Cities and towns along the Missouri River should begin preparing for major flooding in the next few weeks, according to federal officials.

The high water levels on the Missouri in the upper Great Plains are being blamed on a near-year’s worth of rainfall in a few week’s time -- and 140 percent more snowfall in the areas of the Rocky Mountains adjacent to the Missouri River basin.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The construction plan for a temporary levee at Birds Point got a gubernatorial boost today.

Beginning on May 2, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the levee at Birds Point on to relieve pressure on a strained Mississippi River system. The breech covered about 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland with water.

Flickr/SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson

Second Breach on Missouri River Reported

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the first breach on the levee near the Missouri-Iowa border yesterday. The second breach, which is about 10 feet wide, was reported this morning.

The corps says the Iowa National Guard has been dropping thousands of pounds of large sandbags to help fill the breaches, but the damaged areas are expected to fully breach as water levels rise.

Flickr/(SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson)

Flooding in Mo. Imminent According to Gov. Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri is gearing up for imminent and "unprecedented" flooding along the Missouri River.

Nixon said Thursday in St. Joseph that Missourians will face flooding soon along the Missouri River because of rising water levels in the river basin in the northern Plains. He says people with property and businesses in the floodplain should prepare for "unprecedented high water levels."

(via Wikimedia Commons/DEMIS Mapserver/Shannon 1)

Reporting from KXCV's Kirk Wayman was used in this report.

The Missouri National Guard is now involved in flood preparations along the Missouri River, which is expected to overflow levees at points across the state for at least the next month.

The Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled a series of releases in South Dakota starting this  week that will bring water flows into the Missouri River up to twice the amount of previous releases.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Mo. Officials Preparing for More Flooding

Mother Nature is challenging Missourians again. With flooding likely along the Missouri River, Gov. Jay Nixon and other officials are heading to St. Joseph today to discuss preparations.

Seasonal flooding along the Missouri is being worsened this year as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases historic amounts of water from upstream dams in the Dakotas. Officials in northwestern Missouri's Atchison and Holt counties have already put residents in flood-prone areas on alert to evacuate as needed.

(via Flickr/clip works)

This week’s heavy rainfall has increased the potential for isolated floods in portions of the state, although no major flooding is expected. 

Right now, a flood warning is in effect for the Meramec River in St. Louis County, which could lead to some local street flooding. 

John Campbell, operations chief for the State Emergency Management Agency explains why, and where, the flooding could occur.

(via Birds Point New Madrid Floodway Joint Information Center facebook page/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking for possible water contamination in Southeastern Missouri, in the area affected by the Birds Point levee breach.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a Mississippi River levee at Birds Point on May 2 to protect upstream communities like Cairo, Ill.

The levee breach flooded 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland, including a confined animal feeding operation.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri State Treasurer is making low-interest loans available to over 40 counties trying to rebound from a string of weather-related disasters.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, who was in the St. Louis region Tuesday, says the loans will help homeowners and businesses qualify for loans in less than 24 hours.

Zweifel also says the new program will cut red tape and help qualified borrowers receive low-interest assistance loans in less than 24 hours.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

President Obama has issued a disaster declaration for portions of Missouri affected by recent storms, tornadoes and flooding.

The disaster declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in St. Louis, Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid and Taney counties, according to a White House press release. Funding is also available for State and eligible local governments, along with certain private non-profit organizations.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Following the severe flooding and storms in Missouri this spring, Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency to begin their assessments of damage in 56 Missouri counties.

(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers video screen grab)

Updated 1 p.m. with news of river closure to traffic.

The Missouri National Guard and Missouri State Highway Patrol have performed countless water rescues during the flood of 2011. But late Thursday and early Friday, many of the soldiers and officers found themselves in need of rescue.

(Jeff Williams/WSIU)

Updated with Gov. Nixon's request for a disaster declaration.

The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to blast the levee at Birds Point appears to have brought some relief to Cairo, Ill., but the possibility of record crests continues all along the Mississippi River.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says that while she sympathizes with southeast Missouri farmers whose land has been swamped by the Birds Point levee breach, a lawsuit filed on their behalf against the federal government will be difficult to win.

The lawsuit claims the government violated the farmers' rights by taking their land without adequate compensation.

(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers video screen grab)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to blow holes into agricultural levees to relieve rising floodwater on the town of Cairo, Ill. (See video footage of today's second blast below).

However, sparing Cairo came at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars of Missouri crops.

Ed Marshall farms about 8,000 acres in Mississippi County in southeast Missouri.  At this time of year he normally looks out on miles of corn and wheat, but right now, his view is different.

Updated 1:23 p.m. May 3 with information about lawsuit:

Via the Associated Press:

A group of 25 southeast Missouri farmers is suing the federal government over its decision to blow a hole in a levee, causing their farmland and houses to flood.

Cape Girardeau attorney J. Michael Ponder filed the lawsuit Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detonated explosives on the Birds Point levee to ease pressure from the swelling Mississippi River.

(via Butler Miller)

Updated 10:30 p.m. May 2:

Around 10:15, the Army Corps of Engineers posted to its Facebook page that the first section of the levee had been breached.

Updated 5:58 p.m. May 2 with information that levee will be broken and additional information:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to detonate the Birds Point levee in southern Missouri tonight.

Officials announced the decision this evening.

bkusler/Flickr

Osama bin Laden is Dead

Missouri lawmakers are reacting to the news that the mastermind of 9-11 has been killed by US Forces. In a statement, Republican Senator Roy Blunt calls Osama bin Laden’s death a major victory for America. Missouri’s Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, calls bin Laden’s death quote “justice delivered.”

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to halt a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to blast open a levee to relieve the rain-swollen Mississippi River.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito did not comment Sunday night in denying Missouri's request to block the corps' plan. Alito handles emergency requests from Missouri and other states in the 8th Circuit in the Midwest.

Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh says a decision has not yet been made on whether to breech the levee. 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 12:29 p.m. April 29:

Via the Associated Press:

Missouri officials are appealing a federal judge's ruling that says the Army Corps of Engineers can break a levee and flood Missouri farmland if necessary to spare an Illinois town upstream.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. ruled Friday that the corps' plan to breach the Birds Point levee is appropriate to ensure flood-control along the Mississippi. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis a short time later.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Fed. judge gives corps OK to break Missouri levee

A federal judge is giving the go-ahead to the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to intentionally break a Mississippi River levee in southeastern Missouri.

The break could happen as early as this weekend to spare a flood-threatened Illinois town just upriver. Friday's ruling in Cape Girardeau turns back Missouri's bid to block the corps from blasting a hole in the Birds Point levee in Mississippi County, just south of Cairo, Ill.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Army Corps of Engineers to Decide on Levee Breach this Weekend

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will wait until this weekend to decide whether to punch a massive hole in a Mississippi County, Missouri levee to protect Cairo, Ill.

The mayor of the small city isn't waiting that long to take action.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Flooded Poplar Bluff Hit with More Rain

The southern Missouri town of Poplar Bluff endured another night of torrential rain, this time dropping another two inches of water onto already saturated ground.

 The Black River levee that protects the town's low-lying neighborhoods survived Tuesday night. The earthen wall was breached yesterday south of town, which flooded farmland, but released pressure within city limits.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 1:51 p.m. April 28:

Via the Associated Press:

The Black River is receding at Poplar Bluff, Mo., and some 1,000 evacuees are now allowed to go home.

Officials in the southeast Missouri community of 17,000 residents on Thursday lifted a mandatory evacuation order for a large section of town, where river water has been pouring over the top of the levee.

Residents in the impacted area can return home whenever they choose.

Many will find a mess left behind by the murky water. Officials don't yet know how many homes were damaged in Poplar Bluff and in a rural area of Butler County also protected by the levee.

The National Weather Service said Thursday that after a crest of 21.4 feet on Tuesday, the Black River at Poplar Bluff was down to 19.1 feet.

Updated 11:14 a.m. April 27:

Via the Associated Press:

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will wait until this weekend to decide whether to intentionally break a southeastern Missouri levee along the Mississippi River.

The Corps has said it may have to blow holes in the Birds Point levee to ease rising waters near the Illinois town of Cairo which sits near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

Missouri has sued (see 12:58 update) to block the effort because it would swamp farmland. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

But Corps spokesman Bob Anderson tells The Associated Press that even if a judge gives the go-ahead, the agency will wait until it gets a better forecast of the river crests to see if the breach is necessary. That decision isn't likely to come until at least this weekend.

Updated 5:06 p.m. April 26:

Via the Associated Press:

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is defending the idea of intentionally breaching a Missouri levee to reduce flooding in Cairo.

Missouri officials object to the plan, saying it would endanger 130,000 acres of prime farmland.

But Simon told The Associated Press on Tuesday that farmers will be compensated for their losses and will be able to use the land next year. On the other hand, flooding could devastate the poor town of Cairo.

She noted an Illinois levee was intentionally breached during 1993 flooding.

Simon also says the Army Corps of Engineers would not break the Birds Point levee until water had already topped the levee.

The Corps of Engineers says it will put off a decision until at least Wednesday.

Updated 4:20 p.m. April 26:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says she has concerns about the intentional breaching of the levee at Birds Point (via a press release):

“While emergency responders and volunteers work to save lives and protect property as best they can, the Army Corps of Engineers are working to find a solution to alleviate the stress from our levees.  I have grave concerns about the plan to intentionally breach Bird’s Point Levee that is being considered. In the effort to prevent more damage, we may do additional significant harm to the agricultural economy of the region that will last well after the flood waters recede.”

The release says McCaskill has already communicated her concerns with the Army Corps of Engineers' leadership.

(via Flickr/The National Guard/M. Queiser/Missouri National Guard)

The floods affecting southern and southeastern Missouri and towns along the Mississippi River have resulted in hundreds of closed roads in the state, along with neighboring areas in Illinois.

Updated 1:32 p.m. April 26:

The City of Fenton has announced that The River Road in Fenton, Mo. at the intersection of Yarnell Road and Larkin-Williams Road is now closed.

In Missouri:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Opening Statements Begin Today in Christopher Coleman Trial

Area residents started to line-up early this morning outside the Monroe County courthouse to watch the start of the case. The crime took place nearly 2 years ago. Prosecutors allege that Coleman, who once handled security for the Joyce Meyer Ministries, killed his wife Sheri and their sons Garrett and Gavin to be with a mistress. That woman, Tara Lintz, has been ordered to testify and a deposition from Joyce Meyer will also be part of the prosecutor's case.

Major flooding possible in region over next few days

Apr 22, 2011
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Forecasters say major flooding is a possibility as the region braces for heavy rainfall over the next five days.

Mark Fuchs is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

He says melting rain and ice from northern states combined with localized rainfall is creating flood conditions from near the Iowa state line in Canton, Mo. all the way south of St. Louis.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Two Inmates Escape from St. Louis Justice Center

St. Louis police continue to search for two jail inmates that escaped from the St. Louis Justice Center located at 200 S. Tucker Blvd this morning. Police say 34-year-old Vernon Collins and 33-year-old David White escaped shortly before 7 a.m. and are wearing white t-shirts and shorts and white tennis shoes.

View University City Flood Damage in a larger map

A Missouri appeals court has ruled that  a class-action lawsuit stemming from 2008 flash floods that killed two people and severely damaged more than 100 houses in University City can go forward.

The lawsuit alleges that the Metropolitan Sewer District's failure to maintain the River Des Peres  made it impossible for the system to handle what amounted to predictable heavy rain. The floods were the result of the remnants of Hurricane Ike.

The St. Louis office of the National Weather Service has released its Spring Flood Outlook. Hydrologist Mark Fuchs says the potential for spring flooding is much higher than usual, especially along the Mississippi River, but Fuchs says the data doesn't predict significant flooding in the St. Louis area.

Pages